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Source: Healio Interview
Disclosures: Neither Gee nor Reissman report any relevant financial disclosures.
September 09, 2021
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World Trade Center program offers valuable information for health care professionals

Source: Healio Interview
Disclosures: Neither Gee nor Reissman report any relevant financial disclosures.
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The CDC’s World Trade Center Health Program provides important information for all health care professionals, even those who do not treat anyone directly affected by the 9/11 tragedies, those with direct knowledge of the program said.

Since its inception in 2010, the World Trade Center Health Program serves more than 100,000 first responders and survivors of 9/11 who live in all 50 states, according to the program’s website. The program accepted 652 new patients in June 2021, the most recent month such data are available.

An image of the American flag along with the words Remembering 20 years, September 11, 2001.
The World Trade Center Health Program serves more than 100,000 first responders and survivors of 9/11.
Photo source: Adobe Stock

The program provides long-term information about the “impact and consequences of stressors in first responders and trauma in all to develop better mitigation, resilience and preparedness strategies,” Dori B. Reissman, MD, MPH, director of the program, told Healio Primary Care. It also publishes guidelines for diseases that are common among first responders, including cancer, asthma/reactive airways dysfunction syndrome, GERD, chronic cough, major depressive disorder and PTSD, on its website that all health care professionals can use.

In addition, the program awards $15 million annually to support medical research into physical and mental health conditions that are related to 9/11 exposures, including biomarkers of exposures or health outcomes, patterns of illness, as well as intergenerational transmission of trauma in World Trade Center responders with PTSD and the link between the dust at ground zero and cardiac and cognitive functions among survivors and responders, according to the program’s website.

Rebekah E. Gee MD, MPH, who was Louisiana’s secretary of health when heavy rains flooded the state in 2016, affirmed the value of the World Trade Center Health Program, even for those not directly involved in or have a patient directly affected by 9/11.

“This program provides a unique opportunity to gather longitudinal clinical and epidemiological information that gives public health authorities throughout the country the knowledge needed to minimize, using prevention and care, the damage disasters inflict on the health of first responders,” she wrote in the American Journal of Public Health.

In recognition of the upcoming 20th anniversary of 9/11, Healio Primary Care has listed 10 stories on the residual health effects of that day:

World Trade Center responders can still take steps to lower lung injury risk

Reducing excess body fat and adjusting factors of metabolic syndrome can greatly lower the risk for lung disease among World Trade Center first responders, according to data in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Read more.

World Trade Center early responders have increased hepatic steatosis

Increased hepatic steatosis was observed among responders who arrived earlier at the World Trade Center site, according to a study published in American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Read more.

Children with mass trauma exposure more likely to develop panic disorder

Children exposed to mass trauma were at an increased risk for developing panic disorder, according to results of a study that assessed the psychiatric effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on youths. Read more.

80% of 9/11 first responders present with toxin-associated fatty liver

First responders and those who worked at the site of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York City showed a prevalence of fatty liver at a four times greater occurrence than the general population, according to an expert presenting data during a press conference in advance of Digestive Diseases Week. Read more.

Worsening dyspnea after asthma treatment common among World Trade Center responders

In a cohort of firefighters who responded to the World Trade Center within 2 weeks of 9/11, worsening dyspnea was common after treatment with inhaled corticosteroids combined with long-acting beta agonists, according to a study published in Annals of the American Thoracic Society. Read more.

PTSD increases long-term MI, stroke risk in World Trade Center response crews

PTSD increased the risk for myocardial infarction and stroke independent of depression among workers involved in the cleaning of debris at ground zero after 9/11, according to a study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Read more.

9/11 first responders at increased risk for systemic autoimmune disease

Intense dust cloud inhalation, as well as PTSD, experienced by first responders and community members present at the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in New York are associated with a significant increased risk for systemic autoimmune disease, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, according to findings published in Arthritis & Rheumatology. Read more.

‘First mechanistic link’ observed between World Trade Center dust exposure, prostate cancer

Changes in inflammatory and immune regulatory mechanisms after exposure to World Trade Center dust may drive prostate cancer progression among 9/11 responders, according to study results published in Molecular Cancer Research. Read more.

9/11 responders with PTSD more likely to have physical disabilities

PTSD was associated with a greater risk for functional limitations among World Trade Center responders, according to findings. Read more.

Toxins at ground zero linked to cancer among thousands of first responders

The tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, still haunts Americans in countless ways, with many survivors continuing to struggle with the enduring grief and trauma left in its wake. According to a report from the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital, yet another catastrophic aftereffect of 9/11 has revealed itself: cancer among first responders. Read more.

References:

CDC. World Trade Health Center Program Newsroom. https://www.cdc.gov/wtc/newsroom.html. Accessed Sept. 7, 2021.

CDC. World Trade Health Center Program Research. www.cdc.gov/ResearchGateway. Accessed Sept. 7, 2021.

CDC. World Trade Health Center Program Statistics. https://www.cdc.gov/wtc/ataglance.html. Accessed Sept. 7, 2021.

City of New York. City Health Information. https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/chi/chi27-6.pdf. Accessed Sept. 7, 2021.